The map of cognitive biases, errors and obstacles affecting judgment and management of global catastrophic risks

“We had two bags of grass, sev­enty-five pel­lets of mescal­ine, five sheets of high pow­ered blot­ter acid, a salt shaker half full of co­caine, and a whole galaxy of multi-col­ored up­pers, down­ers, scream­ers, laugh­ers… and also a quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Bud­weiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls. Not that we needed all that for the trip, but once you get locked into a se­ri­ous drug col­lec­tion, the ten­dency is to push it as far as you can.”

The map is based on 100+ page text which lists a 200+ bi­ases and other cog­ni­tive prob­lems which may arise dur­ing iden­ti­fi­ca­tion and pre­ven­tion of x-risks.

The map is very pre­limi­nary, af­ter all. Much more bi­ases could be iden­ti­fied. The main idea is to show that there are many bi­ases, so any our judge­ment about x-risks will be dis­torted. Larger safety mar­gins though re­quired.

The map also in­tended to show that we could clas­sify bi­ases and other ob­sta­cles, and it could help to nav­i­gate us to truth and safety. The goal of the map is to show com­plex­ity of pre­dic­tion and man­age­ment of fu­ture x-risks, as well as help to iden­tify sources of mis­takes.

Each box has link on full ex­pla­na­tion of the bias.

Boxes which were cov­ered in Eliezer Yud­kowsky about cog­ni­tive bi­ases ar­ti­cle are red.

Num­bers in the boxes ar­row on para­graphs in the full text.

The Y axis of the map shows stages of x-risk pre­ven­tion in time, on which cer­tain bi­ases may work. Some bi­ases could in­fluence as­sess­ment of risks and other will show them­selves in man­age­ment of dan­ger­ous situ­a­tions.

The X axis gives very rough ty­pol­ogy of bi­ases based of their sources.

See Bostrom’s ar­ti­cle for the similar ty­pol­ogy:

He sug­gests 3 types of bi­ases: be­lieves, short­com­ings of our mind and ig­no­rance.

Sorry that it all looks like tetris. ))

Read pdf with click­able links.